Ask Mickey Mouse, Natural Gas Really Is a Dream Come True

Walt Disney. Photo credit: Flickr/Sam Howzit

"All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them." – Walt Disney

Imagine a world where it is once again cheap to fill up your vehicle. It's also a world where greenhouse gas emissions are minimal and the fuel used to run the economy is homemade, not brought from enemy lands. Now, it's beginning to sound like a world that Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) might dream up.

That's why it's almost a bizarre plot twist to realize that this story is real. While Walt Disney and other well-known characters are at its heart, this story of American natural gas is no fantasy. Instead, it's becoming more real every day.

One of the evidences of this reality is actually found at Walt Disney's Disneyland in California. It is just one place where natural gas is making inroads as a transportation fuel. At Disneyland the year round guest transportation service to and from the theme parks, shopping, dining and parking areas features eco-friendly buses powered by cheap, abundant, clean American natural gas.

Disney of course isn't the only character in the plot shift toward natural gas. Lowes (NYSE: LOW  ) recently launched its own fleet of natural gas powered trucks. The transition from diesel should enable Lowes to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% while also putting a lid on its fuel costs. Its goal is to replace all of its diesel-powered dedicated fleet trucks by 2017 with those fueled by natural gas.

If there is a hero in our story it's Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE  ) , which is working with Lowes and others to replace diesel with natural gas. For example, in order to support Lowe's shift to natural gas, Clean Energy Fuels will be opening a natural gas refueling station in Texas. That station is just one of the more than 400 that Clean Energy Fuels has built across the country to support the shift toward natural gas.

Today Clean Energy Fuels is able to fuel more than 30,000 vehicles each and every day. Because of its vast network of stations, the company really has helped to lead a major shift in the transportation industry. For example, a quarter of all new buses in America are now built to run on natural gas. These are vehicles that on average emit 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than those running on diesel or gasoline.

However, the environmental benefits are just part of the equation. Because natural gas is in abundance in the U.S. it is a much cheaper transportation fuel. On average it's about $1.50 per gallon equivalent cheaper. This is why shipping companies like UPS and FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) are also jumping on board to both go green and save green. The powerful combination of environmental benefits and cost savings will fuel FedEx's decision to have 30% of its long-distance trucks make the switch to natural gas over the next decade. The fuel savings from that switch over time will have a positive impact on the bottom line of FedEx's fuel intensive businesses.

This story, however, is a long way from its happy ending. Dare I say that this is where the plot thickens? In America there are 3.2 million class 8 trucks on the road and just over 1,700 of them are fueled by natural gas. That leaves 25 billion gallons of diesel fuel being consumed each year that could be replaced by cleaner burning natural gas. Right now less than 1% of all new trucks are built to run on natural gas.

We once thought that having a cleaner burning fuel that was actually affordable was nothing more than fantasy. Today, we are finding it to be more real that I think any of us ever imagined. Now all we need is for more companies to realize that this is not a dream world and to join the likes of Lowes and FedEx and make the switch. As Walt Disney put it, we can see our dreams come true, we just need to have the courage to pursue them.

How you can have a part in America's fuel revolution

Clean Energy Fuel plays a key role in our American story. However, this little-known company is actually the one that holds the key to the explosive profit power of the coming "no choice fuel revolution." Luckily, there's still time for you to get on board if you act quickly. All the details are inside an exclusive report from The Motley Fool. Click here for the full story!

 


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 12:49 PM, Gasman24 wrote:

    Check out MNGA Maga Gas Made from waste. cannot get much greener than that.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 2:57 PM, pappy3070 wrote:

    as a mechanical contractor in Milw , we had 2 of our trucks converted to natural gas as the GAS CO.offered my Co free advertisment on local TV . After considerable expense & time we found it to be completely useless as a replacement for gasoline. The fill station as across town and once there it took over 20 minutes to fill. Besides having to lose storage space for 2 high press tanks to contain the compressed vapors in the rear of the van, We were concerned for the safety of our men riding around with very high press, explosive gas inside the vehicle . Imagine what would happen in an accident!!! The mileage was about the same as gas but the wasted labor cost ($50/hr) every day was prohibitive. We went back to gas. Lesson learned! Your bet bet is diesel!!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 11:27 PM, transmitterguy wrote:

    You are full of crap! We can't use the gas,cause they can't get it to us because there aren't any pipelines to us!, and the ones they have are old and stuffed full and about to explode! It's going to take 30 years to switch to gas and by then the little marcellus cracks that they are getting the gas from will have dried up. The amount of gas available is only estimations from gas companies that want to get richer. Don't believe what they say, the amount of oil that was leaking in the Gulf was stated as 1/10 of what it really was. DON'T GET RID OF YOUR COAL BOILER, YOU WILL NEED IT!

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